This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This fan-favorite red enchilada sauce is one of our most popular sauces. You’ll never buy canned sauce again!

Use this enchilada sauce for Cheese Enchiladas, Empanadas, or a casserole. Once you go homemade, you’ll never buy store-bought again!

Red enchilada sauce recipe in a glass jar.

Homemade Is Better!

Homemade enchilada sauce may seem hard to make, but the sauce we are sharing today is simple and a family favorite for our Mexican recipes.

We’ve made homemade enchilada sauce my entire life and use it to make our classic cheese enchiladas or poured over chicken enchiladas, Beef Enchiladas, or Burritos!

Yes, you can buy sauce in the can, but it doesn’t compare to this homemade version.

Why we love it:

  • Common ingredients. This delicious sauce takes just a few simple pantry ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand!
  • Freeze for later. You can easily make a big batch and freeze or store it for later use, saving time and effort in future dinner recipes.
  • Adjust the spice level. The chili powder does have some spice, but you can change the amount of powder used based on what your family likes.
A roux bubbling in a pan on the stove.

Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

  • vegetable oil – canola oil works as well
  • all-purpose flour
  • chili powder we prefer Gebhardt’s chili powder. Note that how much chili powder and which brand you use will determine the color of the sauce. Generic chili powders tend to be darker which will create a darker sauce.
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • salt
  • cumin
  • chicken broth – or vegetable broth

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

  1. ROUX. Add oil to a pot and heat on medium heat. Pour in flour and create a roux by whisking them together for 1-2 minutes.
  2. SEASONINGS. Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin, and oregano and mix until clumpy.
  3. THICKEN. Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time, until there are no more lumps. Heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Pro Tip

The sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon well.

In the pictures below, on the left, the sauce looks watery and doesn’t stick to the spoon. The picture on the right shows that the sauce is thick and sticks to the back of the wooden spoon showing that it’s ready.

Two wooden spoons dipped in enchilada sauce, coating the spoon.
  • Make it creamy. Whisk in ½ cup of heavy cream. This is especially nice when you want to use the sauce as dressing for Nachos, Tacos, or a dip for Quesadillas
  • Spice it up, or not. For a more mild sauce, decrease the chili powder. For a spicier sauce, increase the amount used or use a spicier brand of chili powder such as ancho chili powder or chipotle chili powder. 
  • Tomatoes. To add a blend of tomato into the sauce, simply stir in 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste or tomato sauce. Note that this will thicken the sauce as well.
  • Thicken. To thicken without changing the taste, use a cornstarch slurry. In a separate bowl combine 1 teaspoon cold water and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Once smooth add it to the pot of sauce. Simmer and stir for a few minutes to thicken. Repeat if necessary.
  • Thinner. If the sauce is too thick add a little more chicken broth to thin it out to the desired consistency.
Thickened red sauce in a pot on the stove.

Storing Tips

  • Make ahead of time. Quadruple the batch of seasonings, or even the homemade red enchilada sauce recipe to use for later. Combine the following ingredients and keep them in a jar in the cabinet:
    • ¾ cup Gebhardt chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • Spoon out 3 heaping tablespoons of the mixture which is equivalent to about one batch of red enchilada sauce. Makes for easy cooking.
  • STORE. Keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • FREEZE. Divide the sauce into 3-4 airtight freezer-safe containers, label, and freeze for up to 2 months. Take out the sauce the day before and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat it on the stove until it is smooth.
A pot of enchilada sauce with a wooden spoon in the sauce.

For More Mexican Dips and SAuces:

Save This Recipe!
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
5 from 199 votes

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
This fan-favorite red enchilada sauce is one of our most popular sauces. You'll never buy canned sauce again!
Servings: 1 jar
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (we prefer Gebhardt’s)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Save This Recipe!
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Instructions 

  • Add oil to a pot and heat on medium heat. Pour in flour and create a roux by whisking them together for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin, and oregano and mix until clumpy. 
  • Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time until there are no more clumps. Heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  • TIP: The sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon well. In the picture above, on the left, the sauce looks watery and doesn't stick to the spoon. The picture on the right shows that the sauce is thick and sticks to the back of the wooden spoon showing that it's ready.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 3303mg, Potassium: 627mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 7147IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dressing, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

So Easy & So Yummy

Get my cookbook!

My new cookbook is the ultimate resource for feeding your friends and family with 200+ simple recipes including videos, tips & more!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




170 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    I have never made enchilada sauce before. It sounds good. It is on my to make list. Thanks

  2. Pamela Dunn says:

    5 stars
    This sauce is so good that it is worth making from scratch! Opening a can would be so much quicker, but 20 mintues to make this sauce takes my enchiladas to the authentic level. The difference is amazing! Happy cinco de mayo : )

  3. Debbie Florczak says:

    Once made, can this homemade enchilada sauce be frozen and, if so, for how long please?